Sunday, November 17, 2013

It's Okay, I'm Eating Now

My mom beams at me, "Oh, [name omitted], I'm so happy to see you're eating more!"  

I smile as I put two more pieces of bacon on my plate.

"And it looks like you've lost weight!  It's like I've always said, eat more and it boosts your metabolism!"  Dad adds, wearing the look of a mountaintop-dwelling wise man.

I nod in agreement as I take another bite of my sister's homemade, pumpkin-stuffed french toast.

After brunch I excuse myself as quickly as it's polite.  "They're making me work this weekend to cover for a sick coworker, argh."  I hop in my car, drive the mile to work and head straight for the bathroom.  I savor the solitude.  I'm the only one in the building.

After I rid myself of that nasty full feeling, I walk to my office on unsteady legs and plop down in my ergonomic chair.  My head spins as bend over to push the PC power button.  I take a moment to contemplate my situation.

It's amazing how quickly things change.  A year ago, hell even six months ago, I felt sad and sorry for bulimics.  The way they are wearing down their bodies.  The health risks.  The awfulness of throwing up constantly.  Now I am bulimic.  I can't remember the last time I ate without purging.  The best (worst?) part is my dedication toward not keeping anything in stomach over the last week has paid off.  I'm down either two pounds or six pounds (see my last post on faulty scales).

My glue-eating ED has no problem justifying my actions.

"It's okay, you won't be one of those girls who ends up in the hospital because you don't purge everything.  You've never purged to the point of popped capillaries or puking up blood.  It's just a casual thing: eat something, excuse yourself to the bathroom, throw up a few times, wash your hands, go about your day.  You're okay.  You're fine.  Everything is fine." Mia purrs in my ear.

I'm okay.  I'm fine.  Everything is fine.

Monday, November 11, 2013

My ED Eats Glue

It snowed last night.  Six inches of white fluff litters the ground.  After finishing her morning potty routine, my youngest came inside covered in sticky balls of cold.  She pranced around, confused, nipping at the frozen bits. It was a good way to start the morning.

The drive into town required extreme pucker-power (my whole body was clenched in terror).  That's saying something considering I learned to drive on snow; not a lot scares me.  When I pulled into my gym's parking lot, I was flooded with gratitude for my fitness habit.  Exercising before work means I miss most of the morning rush-hour traffic. 

On light feet (because this is going to be a good day!) I headed for the locker room.  Inside a present awaited me: a new scale!  A small sound of pleasure escaped, it has been a month since I properly weighed myself.  At home the scale is kept in the kitchen; my tiny bathroom can't accommodate the poor thing.  Since I essentially live with four other people, I can't exactly strip down and hop on.  I've thought about bringing the small, rectangular box into the bathroom with me, but couldn't figure out a reasonable explanation.

"Why are you bringing the scale into the bathroom with you?"  He asks.

"Because I need to weigh myself naked.  That's the only way to get an accurate number, you know.  I may also want to obsessively weigh myself four or five times.  Maybe force a bit more fluid out before stepping on again.  I need pre and post shower weights, pre and post purge weights, pre and post..."

Hmmm, maybe not.

Unfortunately, the new gym scale is a piece of crap.  I weighed myself four times and got drastically different results each time.  Best case scenario, I am down one pound.  Worst case scenario, I am up four pounds.  In a month.  A fucking month of purging my brains out with minimal binges.

A sane person would think, "Okay, your tried purging and it didn't work.  Let's try something else now."  Like an ineffective diet plan, it didn't work so move on.  Instead what I thought was this, "Obviously you're not purging enough.  You must purge after every meal!  You must purge more, harder, better!"
My ED brain is a halfwit child, sitting in the corner eating glue.

Friday, October 25, 2013

An Awful Metamorphasis

Little plates are stacked between Terry and I.  A vertical rainbow, sloughed with panko crumbs and smears of eel sauce.   My stomach sits, comfortably full.  I ate just the right amount.  I made good food choices, pulled only the healthiest options off the conveyor belt: a fresh roll (not fried), two plates of vegetable sushi (three pieces each) and a small bowl of edamame. 

With a smile and a laugh I excuse myself. I hold my hands up, "sticky fingers" I say.  Ten steps from the table, the idea catches hold.  The bathroom is located on the far side of the restaurant.  It is a private room.  It is the perfect place to purge.

The door closes behind me, lock flipped.  With calmness and composure I wash my hands (hygiene is important), kick up the seat with my boot, lean over...

After, I check my reflection.  My eyes are a little glossy, but there are no other signs of my transgression.  I am getting better at this.  I wash my hands again, rub at the red, dimpled spot on my knuckle.  A smile in place, I walk back to the table.  The conversations envelopes me, barely a ripple as I submerge.

For two weeks I have binged and purged.  Every day.  Sometimes only once.  Sometimes ten times or more.  I learn something new every time.  Which foods work best.  The most effective methods.  How to purge in a bathroom stall.  I tell myself I can stop any time.  This is a phase that will pass.  I'm not sure if I am lying to myself.  I am alive.  I want to stop.  I feel invincible.  I am out of control. 

I am afraid.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Since When Do I Turn Down Drugs?

 The doctor's office is cold.  I shiver and pull my jacket tighter around me, knowing in a moment the nurse will ask me to take it off.  They need to check my blood pressure, my lungs, my lymph-nodes.

Before I sit down, the assistant asks me to step on the scale.  I pause.  My feet are still clad in heavy winter boots.  My jacket pockets are stuffed with the bric-o-brac of my life: cell phone, wallet, chapstick, keys, loose change, used tissues...  I try to add up how much it all weighs.

When was the last time I stepped on a scale in anything but air and an empty bladder?

When was the last time I weighed myself, period?  It was before I came down with this nasty bug.  I haven't been to the gym in over a week.  I've been stuffing myself with all those bad-for-you foods ( like I do every time I'm sick).  How much damage did I do?

Keeping my face calm (inside I am screaming, clawing at the walls), I make the leap.  It's an electric scale; no fiddling with little, black weights.  A number appears in the little green box.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fight back the tears, kiddo.

Ten pounds more than it should be.  How much is clothes and how much is a week of binging?  Does it matter?  I am torn between a grim acceptance and wanting to strip down to my skin, weigh again.  It doesn't matter.  The number is my new number.  No matter the inaccuracy, it is the new me.

The assistant asks me how much I weigh.  She is sitting on the other side of the room, fingers poised above the keys of a laptop.  I cringe again.  This is salt in the wound.  These obscene numbers have to pass my lips?  I bite them off; spit them out.  I resist the urge to point out all the clothes I am wearing.  Spill out the contents of my pockets.  I don't weigh that much.  I am not that number.

The rest of appointment passes in a blur.  I note with mild curiosity that I'm running a high fever.  The nurse asks if I want a prescription for codine, pain meds, antibiotics?  I turn her down.  It would mean a trip to the pharmacy.  I neither feel up to the trip, nor want to spend any more time in public flaunting what a fat fuck I am.

Why did I come here?  A doctor note?  I'm not to go back to work until my fever comes down.  More opportunity to sit on my ass and binge eat.

I shell out $300 and walk out of the office into a brisk fall day.  As shitty as I feel, I can't help but admire the colors.  Enjoy the nip in the air.  For a moment: calm.  Then I get behind the wheel of my car and it all comes crashing back down.

I wish Penguin was here.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Happy Hollow Bones

This morning [lying on a mat, dripping sweat] after my morning workout, I absently rest my hands on my ribs.  My fingers drift into the deep cave below my sternum.  A pause.  This is new.  The space, once filled with fat [yellow, frothing, overwhelming] is now hollow.  Steep curves and hard muscle.  Exhilaration.  Instant and gratifying.

Maybe it’s because I used to be morbidly obese, but these little discoveries bring me such JOY.  I am working toward a 50% reduction in body mass (I’m sitting at 33% loss), and am looking forward to many more body-bit transformations.  Each will bring a smile and a reminder why I NEVER want to go back.

Today I don't care that the scale hasn't moved in a week.  Today I  don't care that I have 17 hour, non-stop work day ahead of my.  Today I am HAPPY.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

[Insert Something Witty Here]

It seems the people in my life are getting bigger.  The people I used to see as skinny, tiny, petite are now… fat, large, lumpy.   I’m sure it’s my perception and not reality.  Everyone around me can’t be gaining weight at once, right?  Of course I still feel like the largest of them all, and I’ve been losing weight.  I’m almost back down to my lowest adult weight.  Four pounds to go. 

So why do I feel like I’m taking up more space, expanding exponentially even while the number on the scale goes down?  It’s like dragging yourself toward a finish line that is sprinting in the opposite direction.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Do Your Skinny Jeans Fit?

Penguin is on the ABE diet.  His metabolism is so high he has to Always Be Eating (ABE) in order to MAINTAIN his weight.  This morning at the gym he offhandedly told me his weight is the same but his pants are falling off, i.e. his body fat percentage is dropping.  By his estimate, he’s down to 10% body fat (from 15%). 

With a frown on his face, Penguin pinches the skin around his belly button.  “I really need to do something about this.”

I look at the centimeter of skin between his thumb and forefinger.  “What are you talking about? That’s all skin.  You’ve never had better muscle definition.  You look great.”

His frown deepens.  “I used to be 7% body fat, but it was so hard to maintain.”

I shake my head before pumping out 12 reps of cabled chest-flies.  I tell him, “You’re crazy.”   Inside I’m screaming.  “You think 10% body fat is bad!  What about my 25% body fat!  That makes me a FAT FUCK!”

No wonder I have body issues. 

On a separate note, the conversation did give me hope that though my weight has been creeping up, my body fat percentage might be dropping.  Reality gave me a blow when my “skinny” dress barely fit.    (Most people have a pair of “skinny” jeans, I have a “skinny” dress.  I have a tomboy attitude with a barbie wardrobe.)  It took the lady I asked to help, several minutes to zip - I think she was close to giving up.  My face burned with humiliation.

As I type this, the bodice bites into my ribs with each breath.  Ten pounds ago I could fill my lungs to bursting and the fabric barely touched skin.  Fuck. Fuckity. Fuck. Fuck.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Pink Taught Me How

I successfully purged the other day.  Actually purged.  Not with exercise, but with a toothbrush.  Who knew instant gratification comes with such a heavy price tag:  Guilt overwhelming.  Throat raw.  Stomach cramping.  Sweat a slick sheen.  Tears streaming.  


Penguin finally moved in, which means zero alone time at home.  For the most part this doesn’t bother me.  I love knowing he will be waiting for me when I’m finished with work. I love snuggling every evening on the couch.  I love having his warm, hard body next to me in bed every night.  The only thing I don’t love is the restrictions put on my eating.  By me, not him.  Penguin, as far as I know, is clueless about my constant struggle with food.  Living together has left me zero opportunities to binge.  In the beginning I thought that would be a good thing, the push I needed to finally overcome this horrible disease. 

I was wrong.

The itch is always there.  I’ve been eating more during our meals together, and I can see the horror and disappointment in his eyes - even if he’d never say anything.  One might think eating more balanced, filling meals would be a good thing.  A chance to get healthy. 

You would be wrong.

My weight has slowly been creeping up.  A fraction of a pound at a time.  This, of course, started the sick cycle carousal.  Restriction, fasting, binging, purging (with exercise), restriction…

After weeks of barely eating, I had the very rare opportunity to binge - not just a shameful few moments spent in a fast food parking lot, but a real binge.  I tried to fight the urges, split my mind and remind myself that this is not really what I want.  It was inevitable that I fail and give in, pouring food down my throat.  Masticating the contents of fridge and cupboards until I felt I would burst.  

When I was able to stop, come back to myself and take stock, my body and soul hurt.  It was one of the worst binges I had ever experienced.  I thought for sure my stomach would split, actually split, requiring a horrifying visit to the ER.

I dragged myself to the bathroom, the slow shamble of a post-binge.  It was time to wash the sins away - from my mouth at least.  Toothbrush in hand I vowed to go for a long hike the next day.  I would work extra hard at the gym, putting in TWO extra sets (consisting of six to nine exercises each).  The rough bristles scraped my lips, and for some reason my mind conjured up the image of Pink in her Stupid Girl video.  The toothbrush felt heavy in my hand.  Foreign.  It’s true that I had never managed a successful purge with my fingers.  My mind picked up speed, racing, thoughts spinning.  I rinsed the paste from my toothbrush, lifted the toilet lid, brought the rough bristles back to my lips and…

Time passed and at last I felt empty.  Better.  It’s true I was a sweaty mess and my stomach felt folded in two, but I was free of the binge.  Like it never happened.  An ED mulligan.

The next morning I purged my protein smoothie in the shower.  It felt even better coming up than it did going down.  Cool and sweet.  Then my drain clogged from the bits of fruit. 

Apparently I still have a lot to learn.

Friday, August 16, 2013

How Far Down Does the Rabbit Hole Go?

I have been contemplating my fascination with ED blogs.  I'm hesitantly willing to admit, the more sick a blogger is, the more interested I become.  I hate myself for this, but it's the truth.  I desperately want these people to recover, to be healthy, to love themselves.  My heart breaks at their suffering.  

Still...  A little voice, hidden in a dark corner of my brain, wants them to get worse.  Wants them to continue down the path of destruction.  I want to know how far down the rabbit hole goes.  I want to compare myself to them.  I want to see how far I still have to go.  I want to know what it takes to kill myself with an ED.  I want.  I want.  I want.

I live in a sick, sick world and it kills me that I'm not the sickest one. I feel like a marionette, with my ED controlling the strings.

It took me two days to post this.  I always sabotage my friendships with the truth.  Do my best to push them away before they see the real me.  There is such thing as too much honesty.  You think I'd know where that line was by now.  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

How To Stop The Voices In Your Head

Today at work, spring sun glinting through the window, I glanced down and noticed a thin white stripe running across the back of my hand.  The light gave definition to the slightly raised ridge.  Shifting my hand I noticed a second stripe next to the first.  A smaller one next to that.  Moving my arm into the light, my smooth skin was replaced by a battle-scarred canvas.

I frowned.  How had I not noticed these before?  Granted, I knew what they were - I was the one, after all, who parted skin with sharp Kershaw again and again and again... Still, time has a way of dulling memories of pain and rage and ohmygodwillitevergetbetter.  It's funny, I was so sure I had emotionally and physically moved past those afflictions.  Maybe it's irony that today, a day steeped in depression, I noticed the little reminders left behind. 

Life tends to be cyclical.  Ever time I have a bad episode of depression, exasperated by my lovely-little ED, I assume it will be the last.  I'm always wrong, but the hope remains.  With it is the knowledge that as bad as things seem now, they will get better and I am STRONG enough to get through this.

I also know, in some ways, this is a perfectly normal part of life.  Even at my worst I tend to be optimistic.  You know, one of those annoying people always looking for the silver lining.  I know you can't truly appreciate the good times if you've never experienced the bad.  Things will get better.

Until then I am struggling to string together the fragments of my life.  Keeping certain things in check, while forcing myself through daily tasks.  My work is suffering.  I'm always distracted, which means little mistakes have been slipping through.  In most professions that would be okay (if not ideal), but for my job perfection is required.  Errors tend to be costly and time consuming to correct.  My supervisor has been somewhat understanding considering my excellent track record, but I can't help leaving work every day feeling like a failure.  It certainly doesn't help my general outlook.

I've also been seeing things.  Flashes of movement and critters that aren't really there.  Several times I've slammed on my breaks to avoid hitting imaginary animals.  Yesterday I stopped in the middle of the road to let a line of geese cross.  It wasn't until a car behind me honked that I realized all the birds had passed and I had been staring at nothing for several minutes. While on hikes I am constantly seeing dark shapes, darting in and out of the underbrush or hopping from tree to tree.  I don't know why my mind is playing these games with me.  I wish it would stop.

On a positive note, Brain Over Binge has greatly helped me.  While I haven't stopped the binging behavior, I am more aware of what's going on and am usually able to stop eating much sooner than would normally be possible.  It has also helped with thoughts of restricting and over exercising.  Though at times it feels like I've split my brain in two.  It's not unusual for me to hold entire conversations in my head.  Two separate entities whispering in a dark corner of my head cave.

One:  You better eat a big dinner so you'll have energy for your evening hike.

Two:  Are you sure this isn't an excuse to binge and then purge?

One:  No.  I need fuel for the hike.  I'm going to make good food choices: a grilled chicken wrap and a Larabar.  Both are chock full of the nutrients my body needs.

Two: Yes, but that doesn't change the fact that you're going to eat a big meal (i.e. binge) and then go for a long hike (i.e. purge).  Are you sure you wouldn't rather go home and read a book instead?  Wouldn't that be more healthy?  More normal?

One:  But the dogs need a walk.  They only got out for half an hour at lunch because I had errands.  Going straight home wouldn't be fair to them.  They've been cooped up in the car all day.

Two:  Okay, let's compromise.  Only eat the Larabar for dinner then go for a SHORT walk.  That would be healthy.  That would be normal.

One:  People eat grilled chicken wraps for dinner all the time.  They eat french fries and chips and other greasy food.  They also go for long walks in the evening.  This is normal behavior.  This is normal.

Two:  No.  This is your ED.  You are binging and purging.

One:  Does it matter?  If, in the end, the behavior is the same (i.e. big dinner then a long walk) does it matter the motives?  The motions are the same.  The body's reaction to the nutrients is the same.  That means I'm healthy, right?

Two:  *silence*

One:  Right?

I'm still trying to figure out which voice is my lower brain and which is my higher brain.   Someday.

Sigh.  Okay.  Time to go and pretend to smile. Time to pretend everything is okay.  I can hardly contain my excitement.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I Am... Bulimic?

Hello, my name is [blank] and I am... bulimic?  No wait.  I live with BED.  I binge.  I don't purge.   This can't be right.

But that was years ago.  Back when I led a sedentary lifestyle.  Back when I would never have thought of restricting or fasting or sticking my fingers down my throat.  Though I never did succeed in correcting a binge by purging.  I can't tell you how many times I stared down at my toilet, gagging, without being able to complete the act.  At the time, I felt like this was one more way in which I failed.  Now, I consider it a blessing that I never made it down that particular path.

Still, there are other ways to purge. Of course, this is not news to me, but I never connected the behavior to my ED.  I have  Seeking Something Else  to thank for this epiphany.  She recommend I read Brain Over Binge by Kathryn Hansen.  I couldn't put the book down.  The author managed to recover from bulimia practically overnight using nothing but modified thinking.  If she hadn't spent the first half of the book detailing her crawling decent into the madness of an ED, I'd probably have laughed the method off as a snake oil cure.

Like me, Hansen was never able to purge the "traditional" way.  Instead, she would spend the entire day after a binge in the gym.  She sweated away her transgressions.  When I read her story, something went ping in my brain.  I never connected exercise with my ED because I keep the same schedule every week, regardless of how much/often I binged.  Now, it's so glaringly obvious I want to smack myself upside the head.  I work out to control my weight and because I love what I do.  I work out like crazy to compensate for my binge sessions.  It doesn't matter how much I enjoy my fitness regiment...

I am bulimic.

A bulimic who does preemptive purging.  Is that even a thing?

Crap.  Hopefully I won't be this way for much longer.  I am very ready to leave this part of my life behind.  I'm cautiously optimistic about Hansen's approach.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Reality Check, Please

I need a reality check.  I'm hoping you can help.

Most of the time I try not to talk about my accomplishments.  Apparently I already come off as a snob (which I absolutely hate - wish I knew what I was doing wrong), so I figure anything that might seem like bragging should be kept to myself.  (Besides, there is something very gratifying about congratulating a friend on a three pound weight loss, while thinking bout the twelve pounds you dropped last month.)  On occasion I'll share an especially exciting fitness achievement with my dad.  Though I think I might stop.  Lately, rather than being happy for me, he seems worried.  He says I work out too much, which I think is ridiculous. 

I've been living with an ED for so long I know my perception is skewed.  I am aware that I no longer have any idea what healthy eating looks like, but it never occurred to me that the same "ED vision" could apply to exercise habits.  Occasionally I'll have moments of disconnect, like when my coworkers tell me they're training to walk a 5k (I almost laughed because I thought they were joking).  Or when my parents psych themselves up for a hike over the weekend that I frequently do after work.  I know I am very active, but to say I work out too much?  I can't wrap my head around that. 

Anyway, here is what a typical week for me looks like. 

Before work:
Weight lifting - full body,  vigorous, One hour
Yoga - stretching, 30 minutes to an hour

At lunch:
Walking - three miles

After work:
Outdoor cardio with pups - vigorous, at least 1.5 hours
Yoga - stretching, 30 minutes to an hour

Before work: 
Walking - three miles

At lunch:
Walking - three miles

After work:
Outdoor cardio with pups  - vigorous, at least 1.5 hours
Yoga - stretching, 30 minutes to an hour

Before work:
Weight lifting - full body,  vigorous, One hour
Yoga - stretching, 30 minutes to an hour

At lunch:
Walking - three miles

After work:
Outdoor cardio with pups - vigorous, at least 1.5 hours
Yoga - stretching, 30 minutes to an hour

Before work: 
Walking - three miles

At lunch:
Walking - three miles

After work:
Outdoor cardio with pups  - vigorous, at least 1.5 hours
Yoga - stretching, 30 minutes to an hour

Before work:
Weight lifting - full body,  vigorous, One hour
Yoga - stretching, 30 minutes to an hour

At lunch:
Walking - three miles

After work:
Outdoor cardio with pups - vigorous, usually 2-4 hours
Yoga - stretching, 30 minutes to an hour

Outdoor cardio with pups - long adventure, usually 4-12 hours
Yoga - stretching, 30 minutes to an hour

Sunday (Recovery Day)
Weight lifting - fully body, low to moderate intensity, usually 2-3 hours
Yoga - stretching, 30 minutes to an hour
Outdoor cardio with pups - low to moderate intensity, usually 1-2 hours

I realize there are some problems.  I'm probably not resting enough for full muscle repair, but I do a fair job of listening to my body.  If something hurts or doesn't feel right, I adjust my schedule accordingly.  While I do get a little guilty over missed workouts, I'm sane enough to realize that's life.  Sometimes I have appointments that can't be missed, or I need a low-intensity day during the week, and that's okay.  My world doesn't end.

My diet is also honed for this type of lifestyle.  I eat an enormous amount of protein, aiming for at least 100g a day (vegan protein powder is the only reason I accomplish this goal).  Even while restricting my calorie intake never drops below 1,000.  A normal day I'll eat somewhere between 1,500 and 1,900 calories.  While this seems like a monstrous amount - my ED screams at me that I'm a glutton - I realize it's a necessity if I want to keep doing the things I love.  And I do love this workout schedule.  I feel good, and strong and there is absolutely nothing better than standing on top of a mountain, knowing I kicked its butt.

Back to the point of this insanely long post: what do you think?  Is this schedule something that should be put into my secret box, tucked away with my ED?  Something that never gets talked about because, oh god, they might make me stop?

I can't tell you how much your input on this matter would mean to me.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Blood-Sucking Fiends or For the Greater Good

I donated blood yesterday.  Probably not smart for someone restricting calories, but hey, I've yet to pass out so I must be okay.  Though I was turned away four times in a row in February for having low hematocrit.  This time I was 2% over the minimum level.  My iron supplements and daily kale intake must be working.

After I'm done donating, arm wrapped up in a pretty purple bandage, the lady at the blood bank tells me I should go eat a BIG meal.  She tells me I should stuff my pockets with cookies.  Grab a giant bottle of juice to-go.

"You need to replenish your blood!"

"It's okay to eat because donating blood boosts your metabolism!"

I looked it up, you burn an extra 600 calories.  Psh.  I burn more than that on a light exercise day.  That's not why I donate.  I honestly want to help people.  Or maybe I subconsciously think it will negate the dark little corners of my brain.  The parts that whisper horrible things.  The parts that make me a horrible person.

Either way, it's a good thing I've become so skilled at hiding my ED.  Last night my parents stopped by the house unexpected.  I had been laying down at the time; donating blood always makes me so very tired.  When I heard tires in my driveway I leaped out of bed and ran to the door (God forbid they catch me taking a nap - time spent relaxing is wasteful, wrong).  The sudden movement made my vision dim and the room spin.  I stood chatting with them, smile plastered on my face while black ate away at the edges.  They had no idea anything was wrong.  When they left, I pressed my back to the cool door, slid down until my head hung between my knees.  Breathe.  Breathe.  Breathe.

Eventually I felt well enough to crawl back into bed.  Tomorrow I will feel better.  Tomorrow I will be shiny.  Always tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Scattered Like Candy From a Pinata

This is going to be a scattered post, and for that I apologize.

No binging since Sunday!  I'm not actively restricting, but I am trying to cut out processed sugar and keep my calorie count reasonable.  The familiar ache of being always just-a-little hungry has been nice.  I braved the scale this morning - it's been over a month.  The last time I stepped on the little grey box, it told me I had gained 10 pounds.  I cried in the shower after.  This morning was a better experience, I lost the 10 pounds plus two more.  (I weighed myself five times, just to be sure.)  It's the smallest number I've seen since high school.  A normal girl would have done a happy dance.  And for a moment I was happy.  A little burst of serotonin, then nothing.  I am empty.   

I've noticed this phenomenon with a lot of other people living with EDs.  Our whole lives revolve around making that number smaller, but when we reach a goal weight it just becomes our new weight.  So we have to make a new goal weight.  Then another.  And another and another and another...  I'm beginning to think it's not about getting down to a perfect size.  It's the journey, not the destination that matters.

Last night I had dinner with my parents.  Well, they ate dinner.  I sat sipping a glass of water.  Telling them I already ate usually gets me out of eating.  My dad will give me a look that says he knows I'm lying, but almost never says anything.  He will sometimes load up a plate and put it in front of me, not saying a word.  Small portions, perfectly sized.  I love him so much, I usually eat what he gives me.  It's almost a game.  He gives me quarter-size portions and I eat.  I think he knows if he harangues me, or gives me a heaping plate, I will rebel.  I can't help myself.  My dad is the most amazing man I know.  I'd do most anything for him, but my ED has its limits.

Anyway, off topic.  After dinner, my mom tells me she bought a skirt that doesn't fit.  She asks if I would like to have it, which is not out of the ordinary.  My mom has a habit of buying clothes at discount stores without trying them on first.  If they end up not fitting (because they're too big), she offers them to me.  I've gotten some pretty neat pieces of clothing this way - my mom has a surprisingly good fashion sense - so I was excited to see what waited for me in her closet.   I ran upstairs to find a beautifully-detailed, pencil skirt.  It fit almost perfectly, just a little big around the waist.  When I showed my mom, her face froze in an expression I couldn't identify.  Apparently the skirt had been too small on her, not too big.

I've finally done it.  I am smaller than my mom.  I don't think either of us know how to react to this development.  Somehow I'm more excited about the new skirt than the weight loss.

And now, because I am obsessed with pencil skirts, a little fashion to brighten your day.

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Lifecycle of a Binge

Penguin is gone.

I binged.  This time I paid careful attention to every detail.  Maybe if I lay out the horror that is a binge, I can stave off the next one. 

Step one: The Urge.  Sometimes it hits me like a punch to the solar plexus.  This time it is a slow crawl.  I am enjoying a pleasant Easter afternoon with my parents, dying eggs, enjoying my annual slice of fresh strawberry pie (an old family recipe - the only desert in existence worth every calorie), when my skin starts to crawl.  I crave solitude, the need to hide.  Lights in my head pop on, swirling with the craving to eat fat and cheese and salt and everythingbadforme.

Step two: It Builds.  I sit, fidgeting on the couch.  A token resistance is made, willpower straining.  My dad turns on the tv, puts on a show I don't usually watch.  It doesn't hold my attention.  The dramatic scenes are lost on me - they look like children playing at being adult.  I think, "If I can make it to the end of the episode, I can excuse myself politely.  I can go to the store down the street.  I can buy melty-cheese pizzas and creamy-sweet ice cream and..."  I stop the line of thinking.  My skin is pins and needles, it wants to rip off my body and fly away. 

Step three: The Bargaining.  I cannot buy binge food.  I am more than broke.  Vet bills have drained my bank account.  I will not binge.  I will go home, prepare a small bowl of quinoa stuffed bell pepper (crockpot meal - made with wholesome, whole-food ingredients).  Maybe just a little cheese.  I will be sick from eating dairy, but it will taste so good. I will eat this small bowl of food and be satisfied.

I will not binge.  

I will not binge.  

I will not binge.

The spiders under my skin, burrowing into my brain say different.  I salivate.  My tongue is too big for my mouth.  I feel helpless.

Step four: It Begins.  I arrive home.  My roommate is gone.  I am alone.  The ED in me squeals with delight.  My heart sinks.  Sometimes Na can stave off a binge with her presence.  I cannot eat in front of my fit little friend.  The kitchen beckons.  I feed the pups first.  Every movement is careful.  I want to rush.  I want to scatter the kibble on the floor and be done.  Instead I divide up their supplements.  Carefully measure their food.  Sprinkle the Cosquin on top.  Place the bowls on the floor.  Pup looks at me with soulful eyes.  He asks for permission, I tell him, "Okay."  He eats like me during a binge, with wild abandon, barely chewing, barely breathing.  I wish I had someone to portion out my meals.  Tell me when and what to eat.  Control this aspect of my life.

I open the cupboards.  Even in the chaos of a binge, my food choices are carefully planned.  First, a snack.  A handful of something carb-ie and bad for me: sugar-filled cereal.  I prepare my first meal: a heaping bowl of quinoa.  I start with just a little, then add more.  And more.  And more, until the food peeks above the rim.  I add cheese, a handful then two more handfuls.  It goes into the microwave.  While the plate is spinning - electromagnetic waves melting cheese and heating grains - I reach for more food.  A bite here and a bit there.  My hands are in perpetual motion, moving food to mouth.  Grab.  Bite.  Chew.  Swallow.

I am full before my meal has finished cooking.  That doesn't stop me.  I spoon in mouthful after mouthful.  My stomach hurts.  I hurt.  The food doesn't taste good.  That doesn't matter.  I keep eating.  My ED is giggling and dancing, free at last.

Step five: It Ends.  Somehow I stop eating.  I don't know what triggers the end of a binge.  The urge to eat doesn't go away.  It just becomes manageable.  I curl up on the couch.  I feel sick.  Everything hurts.  My stomach is going to split open, spilling out my secrets and shame.  I feel so gross.  I want the food out of me.  It sits in me like a burning weight.  I wish I could purge.  A voice whispers that I deserve to hurt.  I deserve to be miserable.  This is justifiable punishment.

Step six: The Aftermath.  I lie in bed with a sour stomach.  My insides feel like they will burst.  Bile rises.  I hate this.  I hate myself.  I am so weak.

Somehow I sleep.  When I wake, I am still full.  Some of the weight has moved from my stomach to my intestines. They feel inflamed, too big to fit inside me.  I wish I could pull them out, cool them off in an ice bath, put them back when they are normal again.

I am lethargic during my workout.  I'm not able to lift my normal amount of weight.  I have to drop the number of reps.  The nausea is overwhelming.  The back of my throat burns with bile.  I feel weak and gross. 

I don't understand why I do this to myself.  There is nothing enjoyable about a binge.  Nothing.  I can't do this anymore.

The next 30 days will be binge free.  No excuses.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Death to Fluffy, Sugary, Ooey-Gooey Peeps

I feel hollow today.  Little bees are buzzing in my chest, nibbling at my stomach.  I haven’t been able to force down more than a few bites of food since I heard Penguin was leaving.  Except last night when I ate half a box of peeps.  There was something satisfying about biting off the purple, sugar-coated heads.  Squishing the marshmallow insides against the roof of my mouth.  Of course I was sick to my stomach after, but I suppose the experience was worth the cost.

Once home, I made the crock pot meal I had been putting off for a week.  All the ingredients were purchased before I knew Penguin was leaving.  After everything was added, the ceramic dish overflowed.  It held enough to feed me for a month.  If Penguin were here, it would last maybe a week.  

You would think having a boyfriend that needs to be stuffed with 3,000 calories a day would be hard for someone with an ED.  Personally, I find it soothing.  I can enjoy the experience of buying, handling and cooking food without the stress of: a) wasting it because of a fast, b) binging, or c) the food mocking me from the fridge (weaving spells that make me glut - whispering words of encouragement - like the sirens from old fishing tales).  I’m at a loss.  Panic squeezes my ribs.  Too much food.

Hard to breathe. 

Hard to think.

Maybe Penguin being gone is a good thing.  It is possible I have come to rely on him too much.  Three months apart will give me room to breathe.  I worry constantly about losing my sense of self in a relationship.  I worry about being hurt.  I worry about needing someone too much.  I only have room for one addiction in my life.  

If my whole being can’t revolve around my ED, then who am I?

I’m going to try eating an egg white and vegetable scramble for lunch.  We’ll see how it goes.